Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pope Defines Common Ground with Muslims

[Dialogue between Christians and Muslims] cannot be reduced to an optional extra: on the contrary, it is a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends. - Pope Benedict XVI

I couldn't agree more. An essential step to ensure peace in this world is through an honest dialogue between Muslims and Christians, which will prevent the most dangerous Islamists from using ignorance and fear to inspire hatred of Christians and incite terrorism.

In his address to Turkey's Religious Affairs Director, Pope Benedict mapped out the common ground that Christians and Muslims have:
As men and women of religion, we are challenged by the widespread longing for justice, development, solidarity, freedom, security, peace, defense of life, protection of the environment and of the resources of the earth.
We are called to work together, so as to help society to open itself to the transcendent, giving Almighty God his rightful place. The best way forward is via authentic dialogue between Christians and Muslims, based on truth and inspired by a sincere wish to know one another better, respecting differences and recognizing what we have in common. This will lead to an authentic respect for the responsible choices that each person makes, especially those pertaining to fundamental values and to personal religious convictions.
Freedom of religion, institutionally guaranteed and effectively respected in practice, both for individuals and communities, constitutes for all believers the necessary condition for their loyal contribution to the building up of society, in an attitude of authentic service, especially toward the most vulnerable and the poor.
Anti-religious secularism such as that in Europe and totalitarianism like that in many Muslim countries is a common threat to both Christians and Muslims who wish to practice their faith in peace. It will take courage and boldness on the part of both Christians and Muslims to accomplish these goals. Pope Benedict has demonstrated he has this courage. May God continue to bless his ministry!

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